I'm curious about that curious object.
I'm suspicious of that suspicious stranger.
I'm dubious about that dubious plan.
I can't think of any other words that allow this: using the same term to describe the observer and the target. You can't say I'm excited about my excited present, for instance.
The point about these words is that I'm curious about that object means the same thing as That is a curious object. That is not the case for something like furious: one can say I'm furious about that man, and That man is furious, but they certainly don't mean the same.
Here's another way of looking at the oddity. If I say
That stranger is suspicious.
then it's ambiguous as to whether the stranger is suspicious as observer (i.e., the stranger is suspicious of something) or as target (i.e., I am suspicious of the stranger). One can construct similar examples for curious and dubious. This doesn't apply to other words.
- Is it just fluke that these all end in -ious? There are plenty of such words for which it doesn't work (like furious).
- What's going on here? Are these homonyms, so that curious is a different word when applied to observer and target? Or is it hypallage, transferring the epithet properly applied to the observer onto the target?